Seagrape grown from seed

This is part one of this story, if you want to see what happened next, see part two here.

Coccoloba Uvifera also know as the Seagrape, is common around the beaches of tropical America, characterised by it’s circular leaves and bright green, abundant grapes.  As many plant lovers know, it is often a huge challenge to be able to acquire rare or foreign plants in certain areas.  It is seemingly impossible to buy cuttings of in Europe so as a last ditch effort to get this plant, a seed was obtained from a seller on eBay.  While of course this takes longer than obtaining an existing plant, it is of course incredibly rewarding to grow a plant from a seed. If you are wondering if it is possible to grow a seagrape plant indoors, we have done the research and can say that the answer is yes! In this post we show the growth progress of a seed so that you can get an idea of the coccoloba uvifera growth rate.

In case you haven’t seen this plant in all of it’s glory, here is an example below:

View this post on Instagram

De la familia #Polygonaceae, #Coccoloba uvifera, la uvita playera, es un árbol que al parecer puede llegar a alcanzar los 8 metros de altura, aunque solo me topé con los que aún no sobrepasaban los 4 metros. Es una especie dioica, así que para que de frutos tiene que haber polinización cruzada entre un árbol con flores masculinas y uno con flores femeninas. Su fruto verde, en racimos, al madurar toma un color morado y es comestible, de sabor dulce y usado para preparar mermeladas, vinos y postres. La semilla que ocupa el gran 85 por ciento del cuerpo del fruto, una vez extraída, debe sembrarse inmediatamente pues tiene una vida muy corta, al parecer es muy difícil mantener su viabilidad artificialmente. Por ser muy tolerante al efecto del salitre, esta especie está ampliamente distribuida en las playas tropicales del golfo de México, del mar Caribe, las islas Bermudas y las Guayanas. Según Nathaniel Lord Britton, lo más probable es que la uva de mar haya sido la primera planta americana vista por Cristóbal Colón cuando llegó a San Salvador / Guanahani. #Coccolobauvifera Del libro “Árboles Comunes de Puerto Rico y las Islas Virgenes” 1977 dice: “Anteriormente se vendían los frutos maduros en conos formados al enrollar las hojas. Los primeros colonizadores españoles a veces usaban las hojas gruesas y verdes como un substituto del papel para escribir mensajes con un alfiler u otra punta aguda.”

A post shared by Maria Marun (@mariamarun) on

Ok so now you can see what all the fuss is about! It is a truly stunning tree and those grapes (which are edible by the way!) look truly striking on a healthy tree.  So first thing was obtaining a seed, which we found online.  If you are looking to buy your own, they are sold here

Before your seeds arrive you will need to do some preparation work:

  • Get a self watering pot – these are the secret to success with seedlings, because any errors with watering can stress the seedling and cause it to die.  Self watering pots help provide a consistent but gentle source of water to seedlings which helps them grow strong and steady.  We recommend choosing a self watering pot which has a a visual measure so that you can easily see when the water is running low.  You can get a self watering pot here
  • Prepare your climate – if you live in a non tropical climate, you will need to recreate the conditions of a tropical climate to help the seedling in the beginning.  We did this the DIY way by putting cling wrap over the top of the pot and propped it up with a stick.
  • Get your soil ready – this plant usually lives in quite sandy soil, so you want to get a soil which has a sand mix in it.  You can always make this yourself by mixing sand (available here) with a normal potting mix.  If you don’t have any potting soil, you can buy some here

Once you have your seeds you need to prepare them before planting.  You need to soak them in water for a few hours before potting them.  We soaked for 3 hours.

After soaking the seeds, they can be planted in the soil.  When you plant your seeds into the soil, make sure you push it down so that it is well covered by the soil mix – around 2cm is what we did.  Then you can cover the put with your cling wrap and place it in bright light.

For this experiment we planted two seeds – only one was successful.  So it is worth considering planting a few if you have them!  The seeds were planted in mid July 2018, so it took about two weeks for signs of growth to appear, as you can see below.

Coccoloba Uvifera grown from seed
1st August 2018: The first signs of the seedling appear from the soil
Seagrape grown from seed
4th August 2018: The cotelydon leaves are opening up
coccoloba uvifera seedling
27th August 2018: The centre of the stem shows the first signs of growth of the plant’s first real leaves
Coccoloba Uvifera grown from seed
11th September 2018: The first new leaf has grown and now is larger than the embryonic leaves.
coccoloba uvifera growth from seed
19th October – The second adult leaf has now grown and can be identified by its lighter colour and smaller size compared to the first leaf
coccoloba uvifera indoor plant
25th October: A week later the new leaf is now the same size as the first one


The first few months of 2019 didn’t have any particularly visible progress, this is most likely due to the lack of sunlight and cooler temperature over the winter months.  It can be worrying to keep seedlings alive through their first winter, even indoors, but luckily this seedling made it.  The first signs of new growth appeared in April

coccoloba uvifera growth rate
16th April: After barely growing over the winter months, the seedling is now showing signs of a new leaf bud.
coccoloba uvifera seedling
25th May 2019: Leaf count now six
seedling growth progress
27th May 2019: The plant was repotted with fresh soil and now is kept within an upturned glass vase with the intention of creating a glass house effect and hopefully more favourable conditions for the seedling to grow.
coccoloba uvifera seedling
7th July 2019: Leaf count is now seven, and every new leaf is bigger than the last
seagrape plant grown from seed
26th July 2019: The most recent leaf has grown and is significantly larger than any of the previous leaves. This is probably due to the increased sunlight during the summer months. At the centre of the stalk, you can see the next new leaf is on it’s way.
seagrape grown from seed
28th July 2019: Side view of plant showing new leaf growth progress
seagrape plant grown from seed
28th August 2019: The tenth leaf is now growing
seagrape seedling
19th September 2019: Aerial view of the seedling showing that the newest leaf is much larger than all previous leaves which is promising for the future of the plant.

If you are interested in purchasing your own seedling, or other plants, see our regularly updated links to rare plants page.

If you like this story you might also enjoy:

Variegated Monstera Propagation

Monstera Growth from Cutting

Neon Pothos wall climbing

seagrape coccoloba uvifera grown from seed
seagrape coccoloba uvifera grown from seed

7 thoughts on “Seagrape grown from seed

  1. Amazing article! I was wondering what the normal duration is to grow a seagrape from a seed into a full plant. I see that you mention how your seagrape plant wasn’t growing at optimal speed. You mentioned that the enviornment wasn’t optimal and it slowed the growth. Is there a chance that if you had an indoor grow tent this could have grown faster? How much faster?


    1. Hi! I’m not sure what the normal growth rate but I’m sure it’s slower because it’s not the ideal climate and amount of light. I covered it in a glass dome for a few months and noticed an immediate difference in the growth pace. Leaves seemed bigger as well! It’s grown too big for the dome so I will be purchasing a new one soon, and will update on all of the progress and lessons learned in my follow up post which should come soon! 🙂


  2. Very nice. I’ve been trying to grow these from cuttings without success. The fruit has just ripened here so I’m going to try some seeds this week.


    1. Interesting, I’ve always wondered if they could propagate. Good luck planting the seeds! I’d love to do a post on your growth once you’ve had a bit of progress if you are interested 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s